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US, Mexican authorities seek recapture of Caro Quintero

August 14, 2013

Just days after Caro Quintero, a founding member of the now-defunct Guadalajara Cartel, walked free from a Jalisco state prison, the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) announced on Wednesday that a federal judge has issued a warrant for his arrest.

The PGR said it had received an extradition request from a federal court in California, where Caro Quintero, 60, still faces charges. However, former kingpin quickly disappeared after being quietly released on the outskirts of Guadalajara early last Friday morning and his whereabouts are now unknown.

Caro Quintero had served 28 years of a 40-year sentence for ordering the abduction, torture and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Enrique Camarena Salazar in 1985. Late last Thursday night a federal tribunal in Guadalajara overruled Caro Quintero’s conviction, having found that he was improperly tried in a federal court for crimes that should have been treated as state offences.

If recaptured, the U.S. government will have 60 days to present a formal request for Caro Quintero’s extradition to California, where in 1987 he was indicted in absentia for the murder of Camarena, plus additional murder charges, possession of marijuana and cocaine with intent to distribute, and for running a criminal enterprise. The following year, he was indicted again in California for breaking federal laws against extortion, corruption and drug trafficking, while he was also found guilty of drugs charges by a court in Arizona.

The DEA lists Caro Quintero among the most wanted international fugitives on its website, while the U.S. Marshalls offer an unspecified reward for his arrest.

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